SUMMARY MATRIMONIAL wife may now obtain a judicial separation from her husband without going to the High Court there for. Power to make an order for such a separation was conferred upon magistrates' courts by the Summary Jurisdiction (Married Women) Act, 1895. This is made when—(a) the husband has been convicted upon indict ment of an assault upon his wife and sentenced to pay a fine of more than or to imprisonment for more than two months ; or (b) the husband has deserted her, or been guilty of persistent cruelty to her, or wilful neglect to provide reasonable maintenance for her or her infant children whom he is legally liable to maintain, and by such cruelty or neglect has caused her to leave and live separately and apart from him. Where the husband has been convicted upon indictment of an assault the wife is entitled to apply for separa tion to the Court convicting him, although it is not a magistrates' court.
The magistrates, when making an order under the Act, may include therein all or any of the following provisions, viz. :—(a) A provision that the applicant be no longer bound to cohabit with her husband (which provision, while in force, has the effect in all respects of a decree of judicial separation on the ground of cruelty); (b) a provision that the legal custody of any children of the marriage between the applicant and her husband, while under the age of sixteen years, be committed to the applicant ; (c) a provision that the husband pay to the applicant personally, or for her use, to any officer of the Court or third person on her behalf, such weekly sum, not as the Court, having regard to the means both of the husband and wife, considers reasonable ; (d) a provision for payment by the applicant or the husband, or both of them, of the costs of the Court and such reasonable costs of either of the parties as the Court may think fit.
There is, however, an important limitation of the power of the Court.
It cannot make an order if it is proxed that the wife who makes the applica tion has committed an act of adultery, provided the husband has not c,ondoned or connived at, or by his wilful neglect or misconduct conduced to the adultery. Upon application the Court has power at any time to alter, vary, or discharge its order, so long as it does not increase the ainount of any weekly payment to more than R2. And the Court may refuse to make an order if it is of opinion that the matters in question between the parties would be more conveniently dealt with by the High Court. See HUSBAND AND WIFE.